Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Malott

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Mountjoy

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the effectiveness of various incentives, including course bonus points, social reinforcement, and partner assignment to encourage exercise among college students. Participants were assigned to one of three groups. Members of the structured group exercised at a specific time and location, members of the partner group exercised with a companion determined to be their best match, and members of the individual group exercised on their own. In addition to a maximum of five bonus points, members of the structured group received social praise in terms of verbal statements such as "I'm glad you could come." Social praise and bonus points were effective in increasing physical activity. Fourteen out of 18 participants, all of whom reported no exercise during baseline, started to exercise once the intervention procedures were in effect. All members of the structures group earned 100% of the possible bonus points; members of the individual group earned only 20% of the possible bonus points.